Thursday, January 28, 2021
At 1:29pm on Thursday, January 28, 2021, the Ocean Pines Vol. Fire Department was alerted for an odor investigation. Dispatch advised that the caller had plugged a phone charger into an electrical outlet and noticed a strong burning smell. Chief Grunewald arrived on scene and established command as a crew from Engine 1102 entered the home to investigate. Upon entering the home, the odor was detected and the crew deployed a Thermal Imaging Camera (TIC) to check for heat in the charger as well as the outlet from which it was connected. The camera showed nothing of significance; however, while investigating a beep was heard from the nearby microwave. With a quick check inside the microwave, a burnt sponge was found inside. The homeowners explained that she was trying to kill the germs on the sponge. Command was notified of the cause of the odor, and all units were placed in service.
Researchers with the University of Florida released a study in the mid 2000's that proclaimed heating a sponge in a microwave did in fact kill many of the viruses and bacteria that build up on the sponge. They later released further safety guidance: "To guard against the risk of fire, people who wish to sterilize their sponges at home must ensure the sponge is completely wet. Two minutes of microwaving is sufficient for most sterilization. Sponges should also have no metallic content. Last, people should be careful when removing the sponge from the microwave as it will be hot."
Units on Scene: Engines 1101 & 1102, Command 11, 1100 A1, FP 11
How to Microwave a Kitchen Sponge to Kill Germs